What your boss actually wants from your local search reports
Do you ever find your eyes glazing over when putting together and presenting your regular local search reports? Columnist Lydia Jorden explains how to develop a revenue-based report that will be sure to impress both your client and your boss.
Local SEO is a critical part of an overall digital marketing strategy, but relaying its importance through weekly, monthly or bi-annual reports to your boss or clients is a challenge. People’s eyes tend to glaze over, especially if they’re looking at the same metrics every month.
It’s easy to succumb to “Broken Record Syndrome” when local search reports cover the same territory month after month, and it can be difficult to find and integrate something new and valuable.
But these reports are critical for justifying the budget to continue and strengthen local search campaigns. Optimizing local listings, updating photos, building links and employing other tactics to strengthen a brand’s position in the local landscape take time — and time takes money.
Avoiding “Broken Record Syndrome”
Instead of being a broken record and discussing local keyword position performance and reviewing fluctuations, find new metrics to track over time that support funding your local search campaigns. I’ll provide some examples below. Or, on the flip side, you may determine that local search isn’t generating as much revenue as you had once predicted. If that’s the case, you can put that budget toward developing a new local search strategy or reallocate your local search campaign efforts toward something more profitable.
Examining new metrics can spice up your reports and breathe life into what was otherwise a tedious report with similar findings month to month, requiring little analysis.
Furthermore, finding local strategies that have successfully generated revenue can allow for an increase in budget allocated to local search implementation. Measuring local search efforts in financial terms is a surefire way to impress your boss, as well as strengthen rapport with clients and justify funding for local search campaigns.
A few metrics to consider and how to implement them
1. How local search performance affected sales
For local businesses, the financial bottom line is the most important metric, so it is critical that you find a way to connect your local search campaign efforts to sales.
To pinpoint ROI, you need to determine the revenue generated from the effort, as well as the cost put into managing and optimizing a local search campaign.
Although it can be difficult to tie online spend to offline revenue, establishing and following key metrics that contribute to those in-store purchases are very important.
For example, determine the number of people who clicked on your local listing for driving directions. You can do this by going into your Google My Business account and clicking on the green insights tab.
Then, scroll down to find how many people clicked for driving directions:
Of those people who clicked, what percentage of them came into your store? This is a number that you will have to research, discuss with your team and likely get the CMO’s approval to use, as this percentage will have a significant impact on your ROI calculations. This number will vary between industries and buyer behavior patterns.
Then attribute an average receipt value of an in-store “purchase” based on the parameters set. So, let’s say that 10 percent of people who request driving directions from local search make a purchase. (10 percent of 514 is 51.4, or 51 people). Each person’s average receipt is $100. All the assets that went into optimizing for local search cost $5,000.
Looking solely at direct costs and requests for driving directions on Google, we can then report that ROI on the local campaign, conservatively, is a gain of $100 in revenue, or two percent ROI for a brick-and-mortar store.
2. Using Google Analytics e-commerce tracking to provide value for local search reporting
If you have online as well as offline conversions, Google Analytics’ e-commerce tracking can help you tie specific online traffic sources to eventual revenue.
Within Google Analytics, you will want to filter transactions by local region to get a rough idea of whether a push in local listings in a specific location had an effect on transactions.
You can do this by clicking on Audience, then Geo, then Location in Google Analytics, and creating a custom segment.
Click to create a custom segment once you arrive at the Locations screen.
You will create two custom segments — the first for someone who purchased an item organically, and the second for someone who purchased an item as a referral. Then there are two parts within each segment to update.
a. Segment for those who purchased an item on the site: This tab should look something like the screen shot below, depending on the parameters you’re requiring for your data:
If you’re doing a push for a specific item that you have been optimizing for within local search, you can also enter that information to further segment into how successfully a product-specific local search optimization campaign performed.
b. Segment for sources so we make sure to only capture organic and referral traffic: Since we’re most interested in local search purchases (in an effort to be able to attribute revenue to local search SEO), we need to filter the sessions by organic and referral traffic, as these types of traffic are the main results of local search campaigns. Below is the screen shot for completing the first segment:
Then you’ll want to create a second custom segment and repeat the e-commerce steps, along with the traffic source step. However, the second time you complete the traffic sources step, you’ll want to use “referral” rather than “organic.”
Once you create these segments, you can then filter through traffic by location and further dig into where organic and referral traffic came from. You’ll be able to get a rough idea of how local search traffic affected sales by determining if a push for local optimization in specific areas impacted traffic from that location to the site, and even further break it down by revenue generated by locations.
Additionally, by creating UTM codes and using them in your links from all local listing sites, you can get a direct representation of the traffic and revenue generated from those sources.
Spice up those local search reports
Now go impress your boss and clients with new metrics. Give them something new to look at — to keep their attention and also defend your case as a local search engine optimizer to invest more in local search.
But don’t abandon the tried-and-true metrics. Continue to use geotargeted keyword position tracking, local review tracking and other indicators of local search campaign success within your reports. You do not want to throw out the old metrics entirely, but adding something new that connects local search performance to sales may give you a few more insights that you had not anticipated.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.